Being Interviewed (Usually) Sucks. Here’s How to Fix It.


PodMov Daily: Monday, December 14

Episode 336: Your Monday Mix

Being Interviewed (Usually) Sucks. Here’s How to Fix It.

Today’s guest feature acknowledges a hard truth about interviews. Documentary podcaster Doug Fraser (What We Do) interviews people with unusual passions, and he wants to save your guests. “If you’ve been interviewed, you know how nerve-wracking it can be,” he writes. How can podcast hosts reduce that tension?

Fraser offers a theory and a solution. “I think it comes down to this: Interviewees believe that in order to give the best interview, they have to perform. And for the most part, we’re not practiced performers.” As the host, it’s your job to build your guest up from an insecure ‘Performer State’ to a ‘Hero State’ of openness and confidence.

As your guest speaks, there are four specific plot points to listen for — and genuinely pursue. “When you give someone permission to be themselves (which is an incredibly daunting thing) you open the door to unforgettable stories,” Fraser says. “Committing to curiosity will result in a better conversation, no matter what.”

Podcasts Have Become a Disinformation Pipeline

Podcasts are superspreaders of misinformation, writes Ariel Bogle of The Guardian. Questionable or dangerous audio content, like one show “which regularly broadcasts baseless claims about ballot dumps and illegal voters,” is rampant. “However, the problem of how to moderate audio content is proving thorny.”

Bogle, is a journalist and analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, researches online disinformation. Though an episode may be removed from one platform, she points out, programs don’t remain in just one place. ‘Be everywhere’ is the first tenet of podcast promotion. Once on YouTube, clips simply go forth and multiply.

Podcasts can serve as “an entry point and a point of legitimation” for unfounded claims, UCLA professor Dr. Sarah Roberts tells Bogle. “The net effect is not only to put fake, bogus and debunked claims into the larger public conversation, but to shift the needle entirely on the public’s attention and areas of concern.” Remote Recording, Unmatched Quality

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Our priorities should ideally engage heart and head.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Good fight: On Friday, three of Spotify’s podcast unions (Gimlet, The Ringer, and Parcast) organized a two-hour work stoppage for better contracts and work conditions. As Vice’s Edward Ongweso Jr. notes, they’re “some of the first white-collar workers to negotiate with a major tech company.”
  • Quality check: Are we ruining podcasting with ads? “The answer, clearly, is ‘not yet,’” writes Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. To maintain this “delicate transactional balance,” creators and advertisers need to be limiting the number of ads, “and really limiting the number of terrible ads.”
  • Radio stars: NPR’s Story Lab Workshop is accepting applications for its spring session: “We are seeking submissions for ambitious podcasts, special series, and other long-form audio projects that exhibit high-impact journalism and creative storytelling.” The application deadline is January 20.
  • Hot ticket: In her list of travel podcast recommendations, Andrea Sachs of The Washington Post thoughtfully describes each show’s target audience. Far From Home, by former public radio reporter Scott Gurian, will appeal to “fan[s] of This American Life or Serial without the murder.”

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